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Chicago’s Silent Sentinels

The Silent Sentinels were a group of suffragists organized by the National Woman’s Party (NWP), who began picketing outside the White House on January 10, 1917. After daily silent protests and facing antisuffragists who shouted insults, threw fruit at them, and tore their banners, the first arrests came in June 1917. Two of the women arrested in these protests were from Chicago.

Lucy Hyde Ewing was born in 1885 in Chicago and was a relative of Adlai Stevenson, who served as the twenty-third vice president of the US. Ewing was arrested on charges of obstructing traffic for picketing with a banner and served thirty days at Occoquan Workhouse, a prison facility in Lorton, Virginia. Madeline Upton Watson, who was born in 1885 in Illinois, served as treasurer of the Illinois branch of the NWP. She was arrested twice, first for picketing the White House in August 1917 and again in 1918 for her participation in meetings at Lafayette Square. She served time in Occoquan for both arrests.

In our latest blog post, learn more about Ewing and Watson and their work within the context of the fight for women’s suffrage. Read more.

Madeline Watson (far left) and Lucy Ewing (far right) with a group of suffragists, c. 1915. Photograph by Harris & Ewing, Library of Congress

The Museum’s blog is a space where we give you a look behind-the-scenes, highlight items in our collection, and share Chicago stories you won’t see elsewhere. This post is part of a series in which we share the stories of local women who made history in anticipation of an exhibition about Chicago women and the vote. Explore the Women’s History Series.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories